narrative game

The making of Gone Home

Cara Ellison at

There is a strong feeling of place in The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home. A critically-lauded first person exploration game about a house and its inhabitants, Gone Home tells a powerful, moving story about two sisters’ lives through the artifacts of the everyday. The tapes left lying around the house are tracks from Riot Grrrl bands, the sort that grew out of Portland, Oregon in the 90s. Letters and postcards addressed to the house litter every surface. Like its spiritual parent the Bioshock series, the environment is the fabric of the story itself. The relationships the family have with each other, their neighbours, their childhood friends, their longings fall into relief as you traverse this home. There’s no doubt in your mind once you finish the game that this house contained real people who liked each other, got on with each other, were a family.

The Fullbright Company - Steve Gaynor, Karla Zimonja, Johnnemann Nordhagen and Kate Craig - live in a house together in Portland, Oregon. This is where Gone Home was made. This is a retrospective look at the collaborative aspects of how Gone Home was produced, and how pragmatic game design and projects of a strict scope can be more of an expression of who the creators are. Go and play the excellent Gone Home now, if you haven't already, for what proceeds are a few small spoilers.


Going home with Gone Home

Philippa Warr at

I am standing outside the train station with my bags at my feet, painfully aware that I do not own a key to my parents' house. My arrival is unexpected and comes on the back of a transatlantic flight. I am exhausted but almost home.

I am standing in the front porch with my bags at my feet, painfully aware that I do not own a key to my parents' house. My arrival is unexpected and comes on the back of a transatlantic flight. I am exhausted but almost home.

I lost my keys three years ago in the snow after a friend's birthday party. Most were replaced immediately but the one to my parents' front door was always tucked away at the forgotten end of a to-do list. An unnecessary hassle and entirely my own fault.

I don't have a key yet. This isn't the house where I did most of my growing up. My parents moved about an hour's drive away while I was travelling through Europe and tonight will be the first time I see their - our - new place.


Postmortem: choose a victim, change a nation in this free game about politics and power

Cara Ellison at

In free JRPG-looking politic-em-up Postmortem you play Death, and you are on your way to a dinner party to kill someone. Your orders are to kill only one person, it doesn’t matter who; The Secretary has told you so. Perhaps the world has been encased in some sort of Malthusian Deadlock. But as you begin to develop an uncharacteristic curiosity about the guests, engage them in discussion, and investigate the documents and trinkets of the venue, you enact an oddly human bias. You realise that who you kill might have a greater impact than just having a waiter drop his hors d’oeuvres. But is your curiosity shifting history down another track? Is your very interest sending a cosmic ripple down the trouserleg of time? Right from the menu screen’s orchestral, foreboding, almost overbearing adaptation of Pop Goes The Weasel from Kevin MacLeod, you feel like whatever you do in this game, something awful is going to happen.